Here's a selection of the best new movies on DVD for August 2008.
August 5, 2008The Counterfeiters DVD
Winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, this drama is in German. The story is based on the real-life Operation Bernhard, a World War II Nazi scheme to disrupt the British and American economies by issuing massive quantities of counterfeit pounds and dollars. The protagonist is Salomon Sorowitsch (Karl Markovics), a Russian Jew imprisoned at Sachsenhausen. A master forger, he is given good food and decent living conditions in return for his work on the counterfeiting project. But he has mixed feelings about what he is doing.
My Brother Is an Only Child DVD
This Italian-language film is a mostly lighthearted family melodrama with likable characters. It's about a politically divided working-class family in the '60s and '70s, but suffuses the story with warm humor. The family is leftist, but lives in Latina, a city built by Mussolini. The elder son Manrico becomes a communist organizer, but his younger brother Accio gets involved with local fascists. Also, there's a good-looking young woman that both brothers are attracted to. One of the humorous scenes centers on a performance of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" with Marxist lyrics.
August 12, 2008Brand Upon the Brain! DVD
Directed and co-written by Guy Maddin, this strange film was shot in 8mm black-and-white as a silent. It has sometimes been shown theatrically with live orchestra and narrator, but the DVD has recorded sound and narration by Isabella Rossellini. The story is about a man who travels to an island to repaint his childhood home, a lighthouse that served as an orphanage. But he gets caught up in memories of his sister, his overbearing mom and his mad scientist dad. He also recalls a teenage brother-and-sister detective team investigating wounds on the backs of the orphans' heads.
How the Garcia Girls Spent Their Summer DVD
This leisurely paced, low-keyed indie is about the love lives of three generations of Mexican-American women during a hot summer in a sleepy Arizona border town. There's the teenager Blanca (America Ferrera), a virgin who's curious about sex and drawn to the new guy in town. Then there's Blanca's divorced mom Lolita (Elizabeth Peña), who gets involved with autoeroticism and two very different men, one of them married. Finally, there's Lolita's widowed mother Doña Genoveva (Lucy Gallardo), who falls for her gardener while he's teaching her to drive.
August 19, 2008Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert DVD
This is a music documentary about the concert tour of teenage singer Miley Cyrus, who plays the title character in the Disney Channel TV series Hannah Montana. The concert begins with Miley singing several songs in character as Hannah Montana, which means she wears a blonde wig. Next the Jonas brothers perform a couple of numbers, then Miley comes back, this time as herself, to sing several more songs. Between musical numbers, some behind-the-scenes footage is shown. In a brief segment, Miley plays guitar with her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day DVD
Frances McDormand and Amy Adams star in this lightweight, feel-good dramedy based on Winifred Watson's 1938 novel. The story takes place all in one day in late 1930s London. Guinevere Pettigrew (McDormand) is a homeless, unemployed middle-aged governess who manages to get a job as the social secretary of Delysia Lafosse (Adams), a young cabaret singer struggling to make her way up the showbiz ladder. As Delysia juggles three lovers, the straitlaced Miss Pettigrew gets spruced up and begins to enjoy life, meeting an interesting man (Ciaran Hinds).
August 26, 2008Redbelt DVD
David Mamet wrote and directed this drama starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tim Allen, Emily Mortimer and Alice Braga. Also appearing in the movie are Mamet regulars Rebecca Pidgeon, Joe Mantegna and Ricky Jay. The film centers on Mike Terry (Ejiofor), a martial-arts instructor who runs a storefront operation in L.A. He is married to Sondra (Braga). But he happens to meet an attorney (Mortimer), a movie star (Allen) and the star's agent (Mantegna), and Mike ends up competing professionally. Soon he finds himself in a corrupt world where nothing is straightforward.
Son of Rambow DVD
Written and directed by Garth Jennings (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), this drama is about two fatherless boys of about 11 who become friends in 1980s England. Will Proudfoot (Bill Milner) is well-behaved at school, but he's an outsider because of his religion. Lee Carter (Will Poulter) is a hell-raiser who is in continual trouble. But Lee is making a film inspired by Sylvester Stallone's First Blood (1982), and he recruits Will, who performs some very risky stunts. A complication arises in the form of the cool French exchange student Didier (Jules Sitruk).